CAPTION: Mr. Femi Falana (SAN)
By Davidson Iriekpen
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to be courageous in ensuring that the trillions of naira diverted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and contractors are recovered forthwith.
Falana said having set up committees and engaged audit firms to probe the accounts of some agencies of the Federal Government, the president Jonathan is under a duty to implement their reports no matter whose ox is gored.
In a statement made available to THISDAY Sunday night, the senior advocate noted that the states and local governments which are entitled to 47 per cent of the revenue accruable to the Federation Account should collaborate with the National Assembly and the anti-graft agencies to recover the looted wealth.
“Since the NNPC has been indicted by KPMG, Auditor-General of the Federation, Special Petroleum Task Force, National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and both chambers of the National Assembly, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Deziani Allison-Madueke, should be sacked without any further delay. This will go a long way to convince Nigerians that there is no sacred cow in the fight against corruption,” he said.
Falana wondered why some ex-governors should be standing trial when the amount they allegedly stole is not up to N1 trillion.
He also wondered why indicted fuel importers should be prosecuted while the NNPC which collected the bulk of the fuel subsidy fund through fraud should be spared from prosecution.
“Why should they be standing trial if civil servants who divert and convert trillions of naira payable to the Federation Account are allowed to go scot free? Since what is good for the goose is good for the gander all the NNPC board members and officials who were involved in the fraud of over N1 trillion fuel subsidy should be prosecuted without any further delay.
“A fortnight ago, the NEITI released another report which indicted the NNPC for withholding N1.9 trillion from the Federation Account.
“Apart from the general denial of the serious allegation of fraud contained in the audit report the NNPC has failed to controvert the findings and conclusions of the NEITI.
“In a recent report submitted to the National Assembly by the Auditor-General of the Federation, it was revealed that a number of MDAs collected N4.5 trillion from 2009-2012 which they failed to pay to the federation account.
“In the course of debating the report the House of Representatives has discovered that the actual amount diverted by the MDAs is not less than N8 trillion within a period of three years.
“While the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the ICPC are busy pursuing the cases of some politically exposed persons and private individuals involved in corrupt practices and other economic and financial crimes in the various courts President Jonathan should pluck up the courage to ensure that the trillions of naira diverted by the NNPC, MDAs and contractors are recovered forthwith,” Falana stated.